Get to Know Vaya

Embracing whole-person care by nurturing the mind, body, and spirit

Who We Are

Vaya is a public managed care organization (MCO) that prioritizes whole-person health. We manage Medicaid, federal, state, and local funding to connect the people we serve to health care services and supports. Our specialty is helping individuals with needs related to mental health, substance use disorders, intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). We strive for members to receive the right care, in the right amount, at the right time.

Serving North Carolina

To manage prevention, treatment, and crisis services, we partner with more than 4,000 healthcare agencies and practitioners. This network provides person-centered care to help people on their path to health and wellness. We manage two health care options:

Behavioral Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Tailored Plan

  • Mental health, substance use, and I/DD services for Medicaid and NC Health Choice beneficiaries. These individuals are referred to as Vaya Total Care members.
  • Mental health, substance use, and I/DD services for individuals without insurance – or too little insurance – who are eligible for care funded by the state of North Carolina or other public funds. These individuals are referred to as Vaya Total Care recipients.

NC Medicaid Direct

  • North Carolina’s health care program for Medicaid beneficiaries who are not enrolled in managed care plans. Vaya is responsible for managing behavioral health, I/DD, and TBI services for these individuals, who are referred to as NC Medicaid Direct beneficiaries.

We currently operate in the following North Carolina counties: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Caswell, Chatham, Cherokee, Clay, Franklin, Graham, Granville, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Person, Polk, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Swain, Transylvania, Vance, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.

Our Mission, Vision, & Values

MISSION: “Who We Are”

Vaya Health is a public manager of care for individuals facing challenges with mental illness, substance use, intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), and/or traumatic brain injuries. Our goal is to successfully evolve in the health care system by embracing innovation, adapting to a changing environment, and maximizing resources for the long-term benefit of the people and communities we serve.

VISION: “What We’re Building”

Communities where people get the help they need to live the life they choose.

VALUES: “What We Believe In”

Person-Centeredness: Interacting with compassion, cultural sensitivity, honesty, and empathy.

Integration: Caring for the whole person within the home and community of an individual’s choice.

Commitment: Dedicated to partnering with consumers, families, providers, and others to foster genuine, trusting, respectful relationships essential to creating the synergy and connections that make lives better.

Integrity: Ensuring quality care and accountable financial stewardship through ethical, responsive, transparent, and consistent leadership and business operation.

Our History

Vaya’s roots in North Carolina go back to 1972. Today, we serve residents of 32 counties across the state. Alongside our members, recipients, providers, and community stakeholders, we are moving forward together toward a healthier North Carolina.  

As an area authority in 1972, we provided direct services and operated facilities in the state’s seven westernmost counties.  

In 2001, North Carolina implemented reforms related to public behavioral health and I/DD service delivery. We transitioned from an area program to a local management entity (LME), ceasing direct service provision and managing care delivered by area providers. We went on to successfully complete mergers with neighboring LMEs to our north and east. 

In June 2011, the state Legislature expanded the Medicaid 1915(b)/(c) Waiver statewide, moving all mental health, substance use, and I/DD services into a managed care delivery system. We transitioned to a full LME/MCO on July 1, 2012, now serving both state-funded and Medicaid members. In 2013, we merged with another LME/MCO, Western Highlands Network. 

Girl Hiking and looking at the mountain side.

To better reflect the geography of our growing catchment area, in 2016 we assumed the name Vaya Health. Our focus was on moving forward as an organization and helping the individuals we serve find stability, recovery, and hope. 

The Boards of Vaya and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare announced their decision to consolidate in June 2021, expanding Vaya’s geographic footprint to 32 counties across the state. One month later, in July 2021, Vaya was awarded a contract to operate a regional Behavioral Health and I/DD Tailored Plan as part of the state’s transition to NC Medicaid Managed Care.  

Launching in April 2023, Vaya Total Care will serve Medicaid beneficiaries who have significant mental health, substance use disorder, I/DD, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) needs.  

Our Team

At Vaya Health, whole person care isn’t just a pursuit—it’s our passion. We’re inspired by the people and communities we serve. Our staff understand that the journey to wellbeing may not always be a straight line, but we’re here for members and recipients every step of the way.

Looking for a place to put your passion to work? Let’s move forward together.

Elderly man coaching baseball to younger kid.
Business woman giving speech.

Leadership & Governance

As managers of public funds, we strive to ensure access to quality care for those we serve and accountable financial stewardship in our daily operations. Vaya’s leadership works closely with our governing Board of Directors and four Regional Boards to align efforts to best meet the needs of our communities.

Advocacy & Involvement

Our vision is to build communities where people get the help they need to live the life they choose. We’ve seen Vaya Health members and local communities give back and get involved in their care, education, and overall health. We welcome member and community participation in what we do. That includes opportunities to serve on key committees and participate in quality trainings and education.

Women talking about Vaya health
The Latest News

Vaya Stories

Mental Health Awareness Month: Early detection, stigma deflation, resource identification, and beyond

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to prioritize understanding and…

Vaya Health Launches The Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP) Program Alongside NC Dept. of Health and Human Services 

On May 15, Vaya Health joins partner health plans across North Carolina…

Child Abuse Prevention Efforts at Vaya Health

April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, a…

Jacob Ray + Vaya’s Microenterprise Program Autism Awareness Month

As Autism Awareness Month continues to feature the diverse talents and capabilities…

Member Profile: Rebecca Conway Shares a Caregiver’s Journey with TBI

As Brain Injury Awareness Month wraps up, Vaya Health shines a spotlight…

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